And I’m back from my third, final blogging conference this month – final as in no more planned this year but again, it’s only spring! Although the first two were in town and I traveled to my old stomping grounds in LA for the last one, Create & Cultivate, I am happy to be back in Phoenix, take the information I’ve gathered over the past few weeks and put together a game plan. I met up with one of my treasured longtime friends, Emily who is a PR queen and as we caught up in DTLA at the most adorable French inspired restaurant, Bottega Louie. As I spilled about seeing Kim Kardashian West live and how the past month has gone, she suggested I share some of my ideas and observations after attending this conference.
For business owners or brands who are considering sponsoring a booth at an event – blogging conference or speciality trade show to attract customers or gain brand recognition, I want to talk about what I observed. For everyone else, just keep reading to see my amazing swag bag, why attending an event like this is beneficial, and see images and my thoughts of seeing Kim Kardashian West the keynote speaker.
At a blogging conference or any creative conference, a pretty booth isn’t enough – it’s mandatory. First, it’s a necessity or else no one will even look at your booth, and second, you want people to stop, have a line gathered because that also attracts attention. I’m going to tell you what is going to make attendees stop.
- A pretty, eye catching booth – bonus for any backdrop that is dreamy and instagrammable. Props, good lighting, streamers, a section dedicated to taking a photo.
- Freebies – and lots of them that are clearly laid out for the taking to entice people to pause. Also a larger booth is best for gathering a crowd so consider enough space for that.
- Hired friendly attendees – to keep people in the booth, ask if they’ve heard of your brand and who are spokespersons walking around giving away product. Make sure they are kind and they aren’t just talking to each other (I walked away from some because they didn’t care I was around).
I’m going to share the small and big details because I know the investment to be present at these conferences is a big one and as a business owner who has attended a dozen conferences over the years – from blogging, photography to business, there are a few things that stand out to me that I wanted to share to better help businesses get the attraction they want. I also had my own photography booth at a bridal show fair over a decade ago when I first started photography!
What was Kim K like? She’s sweet, actually pretty funny and witty, a bit more talkative than on the show (but she does share the show with her other family members), and she actually curses a bit. But not heavily or offensively, more casual. I mention this only because we rarely see Kim curse on the show and she even said it herself on the stage when she caught herself.
One thing I liked is that she said to always be on time and don’t use your kids as an excuse. She said everyone has kids and no one cares (in other words) and that you should be professional and show up on time. No one cares if your kids held you up or acted up.
Now back to the really cool booths and brands that were in attendance and what I enjoyed while walking around the conference.
5 tips to make your brand stand out at a trade show of conference event
1 / A pretty tote bag or item that can reused
It can have your brand on it, but make a graphic much prettier and larger as we all have enough bags and totes. Design your tote as stylish tote first or with a cute saying (pick your fonts carefully!), then figure out how to add your logo. As attendees walked by one another you took notice at beautiful totes and I knew which I would use again and not just for the conference – you want your attendees to use them as a walking billboard after the conference!
2 / Offer something unique
La Croix had an illustrator drawing attendees holding a La Croix drink! The line was always long, I finally had my chance when everyone was at a keynote. Their tote bags had cans across it like Campbell soup artwork in different colors. Sadly I didn’t score one of them in time (wahhh!) but they included an adorable white embroidered baseball cap in the swag bag which made me quite giddy. Another brand offered free engraving on jewelry, and a t-shirt company offered free embroidering on their shirts. However, be able to handle the orders as I heard one closed down later in the day from overwhelming amount of orders and another’s system went down but they offered to ship for free.
3 / Offer a special discount or freebie in exchange for information or a subscription
4 / Display a schedule with different reasons for people to return
5 / Include yourself in the swag bag
The swag bag is your last attempt at a reach if you weren’t able to connect with everyone at the conference, and it can also act as a follow up. At Create & Cultivate I got a VIP bag with my ticket and it was about 20 lbs. no joke I put it over my arm just to take it from my Uber and blood vessels popped. It was the best bag I’ve ever received from a conference but again, my ticket was $550 to attend. I poured out my goodies on the bed and went through them familiarizing myself with the brands I already met (and now have a coupon to get their product!) or a sample or full size product to try. Paper information gets thrown away, sorry. This is your time to throw in a gorgeous water bottle or makeup product in there. If you can’t gift 1000 items, offer to be in the VIP to get a higher target audience even tho it’s smaller. Your ROI may be better. I loved the $100 gift card I received from Beyond Yoga. If your brand is tech and not exactly glamorous, find something beautiful like a gold water bottle to put your logo on, Intuit did this.
See what I brought back to my hotel room.
Reminder of why you should consider participating at these conferences
Your brand is there for brand recognition and for influencers or customers to take notice. Being presence elevates brand awareness and sometimes aligning yourself with the right conference with the right attendees or even other brands in attendance is worth the expense. Will La Croix ever know how many drinks they sell after or will people posting about their cute illustration be a good marketing strategy as it’s shared across social?
As a blogger for example, I was there to align myself with others who took their careers seriously. Being present at such a highly publicized and pricey event showed how much I cared about my business and brand to further my education to bring a better me to the table for my brand clients and readers.
If your brand is not in the beauty or fashion industry and you’re not sure how to participate and fit in with the clothing shops, simply create a beautiful booth where people would want to stop and take a photo for social media. In addition, offer fun goodies along with the information about your businesses – assuming that the conference attendees are you type of clientele. The conference should be able to provide you with demographics of who is coming, age, sex, income (maybe), industry, location so you can decide if this face to face opportunity is worth the investment.
I feel like I ended this month with a bang. Office is clean, almost ready for it’s reveal, almost. Thanks so much for being here and reading as always, I appreciate it!